When developing a business strategy or mission, how much attention should you give your competitors? Is it better to focus on your company’s strengths and weaknesses, or try to imitate the strengths of your rivals? This is one of the questions that arose from our latest class session.
As individuals, we are tempted to compare ourselves with our peers. We judge how we look, perform, and act relative to our friends, co-workers and even strangers. One of the reasons why we do this is to justify our egos and self-worth. Our self-confidence blooms when we are better than someone else and we feel depressed that we are not as good as someone else. Ideally, it is better that we do not compare our accomplishments with others because it can limit our abilities or make us complacent with who we are.
Likewise, it is important for businesses to gauge what their competitors are doing to ensure they do not fall behind in their industry. However, there is only so much a company can do from evaluating its competitors. As the old saying goes, “control what is within your control.” In order to make one’s business a leader in the industry, efforts are best spent focusing on innovating and developing the company’s strengths and eliminating its weaknesses.
A prime example of this is Northwestern University. Northwestern compares its standards and procedures with other rigorously academic institutions such as Harvard, Yale, and the University of Chicago. Yet, Northwestern continues to be one of the prominent and top Universities in the world because it focuses on preparing its students to be the leaders in their respective fields. NU is always providing its students the finest instruction and fully supporting its faculty to research new endeavors.